Flights, Hospitals, and Digsites

My flights to Jordan were uneventful, but I wasn’t feeling well for most of it. Add in the fact that I couldn’t eat any of the airplane food thanks to it all being chock full of gluten, I didn’t have much to eat over the multi-day trip to Jordan.

The first flight was 9 hours to London. I managed to get a whole row to myself, so I was able to sleep for some of the trip, but it’s still sleeping on a plane, so it wasn’t very comfortable.

Once we got to Heathrow, we found it to be rather confusing. Most airports are straightforward, follow the signs to connecting flights and you’re there. But Heathrow is huge and we had to switch terminals. We needed to switch from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2. We were eventually helped out by a passerby who showed us the right way to go. It turns out that the doorway was stashed behind a glass partition, so you can’t see the doorway until you walk past it, turn around, and then look back.

After London, it was on to Vienna for a short layover until our final flight to Amman.

I was sitting with a man who had a really interesting history. He was born in Colombia, but currently lives in Sweden. He was taking a trip to visit his parents in Pakistan, but had to travel through Jordan instead of Israel, since he’s Palestinian. It sounds so complicated, but given the history of the Middle East, I’m sure his complex family background isn’t uncommon.

When we got to Jordan, we were picked up by a couple of cars and then taken to our “camp,” a UN refugee college about 30 minutes from the airport.

It was the middle of the night, so as soon as we were settled, I tried to sleep for the last remaining hours of night. I couldn’t sleep at all though, despite how tired I felt. I was upset, low on energy from only having eaten 4 gluten-free breakfast bars in the last two days. I felt totally out of sorts. I wanted to go home, which is totally unusual for me.

I tried to drink some water, but I couldn’t even get that down. I felt so sick. So, I did what all sick people do: I called my mom.

She told me to go to the hospital.

The hospital was not what you would picture when you think of a third-world hospital. Thanks to Jordan’s efforts to Westernize, it had all (almost) the ammenities of any Canadian Hospital. The doctors and nurses spoke English, which was reassuring, since I had been worried about how I would communicate how I was feeling.

They hooked me up to an IV and told me that it would take about an hour for my body to absorb the solution. It only took about 15 minutes for my IV to run try, and I watched as my blood crept back up the tube into the IV bottle, which made me feel anxious.

The nurse came by and told me someone would be by in “two minutes.” It was a little while later before someone came by and removed the IV. The doctor told me it looked like I had the flu and that he’d prefer I stay for a little while longer and another IV, but I was feeling ready to sleep and infinitely better, my only complaint was that my throat kept getting so dry it was sticking to itself. Turned out, he had given me an anti-nausea medication along with my IV and that was causing the dry throat. So, I sipped water and was grateful for the opportunity to do so, after not having been able to drink anything that morning.

When we returned to the Amman Training College, I went to sleep and didn’t move for almost a full day. My roommates kept coming by to check on me, and since I hadn’t moved at all, they had to check that I was still breathing to be sure everything was okay, which makes me laugh.

It took a lot of time for me to feel better, even after the massive amount of sleep. My concerns about how sick I had been and about how I would get Celiac-friendly food, and the stress of the whole episode made me question if I shouldn’t just head home.

Once I had recovered enough, we went out to explore the neighbourhood around the ATC. We poked around in a few of the shops, but nothing was much different from what you’d find in a shop back home. So after at little while, we walked back to the campus.

On the way back, some kids began to throw stones at us and yelled for us to go away. We were all covered, none of us had done anything considered rude here, so it was a little unexpected and sad. We talked with the dig directors, who said the kids would have mistaken us for Americans, and given the political issues right now, they were just acting out.

Yesterday, I went down to the dig site to see how much work I could get done, which went okay. I was drained and sick by the time the afternoon rolled around, though. I spent the rest of the day in bed and woke up at 4am this morning still feeling pretty badly. I’m better now, but the light-headedness just won’t leave me alone.

Today and tomorrow has been scheduled for orientation, with doing a bit more work on the dig on Friday. Saturday is a free day, with Sunday being spent taking a tour around Amman and nearby archaeological sites.

I’m hoping I’ll be able to stick it out. It was really scary those first few days. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that sick before. As long as I take my time, I’m hoping I can get through this. My body will do what it wants, and it’s just a matter of bearing with it when it’s unhappy.

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